By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Marketing
There’s so much to remember when you’re trying to close a sale—conduct customer research beforehand, make eye contact, have a firm handshake—that it can get overwhelming for new and experienced reps alike. Sometimes, the stress of keeping everything in mind can even cause even a skilled sales professional to stumble. Yet, you have options. Dan Cole, vice president for the International CES, recently gave sales reps 10 sales commandments. While 10 is an even, nice number, sometimes that many guidelines can be too much. So here’s just few commandments—five, not 10, because, let’s face it, sometimes less is more—to use to improve your sales productivity and make your life just a little bit easier.
1. Thou Shalt Conduct Research
You can’t really sell a product successfully if you haven’t prepared. Reviewing what’s going on in the industry is essential to interacting with the customer. Not being able to speak to what they currently need—or will need in the future—can result in a difficult relationship. But collecting market insights is more than just a preparation technique to build a rapport—it shows the client that you respect their needs and are willing to go the extra mile to deliver results, and they’ll trust you for it.
2. Thou Shalt Stay Confident
This is on Cole’s list—and many others’, for that matter—for a reason. Being confident in your own abilities and the value you are providing can make all the difference. Positivity radiates from you, your body language is more open and you’re able to make the client laugh when you are confident. Making eye contact and having a firm handshake just happens naturally.
3. Thou Shalt Communicate
Grant Cardone, sales expert, advised professionals in an Entrepreneur article to focus on speaking and writing clearly. Effective communication is often overlooked by reps when there’s a sale on the line, but don’t forget your relationship with the client suffers when there’s confusion. Cardone suggested sales professionals tape themselves on a recorder to hear themselves. Sometimes we don’t know we’re not being clear. So pick up a video camera and speak with other members of your sales team.
But communication is more than just talking with another person—it’s also important to express yourself clearly in writing. Cardone recommended reps present a proposal in writing that is extensive but to the point to prevent any future confusion or unmet client expectations.
4. Thou Shalt Serve the Customer
Perhaps the golden rule of sales—focusing on the customer—yet it can take a backseat to other issues. But think about it—you’re providing a service that another person is paying for, so give them a reason to do business with you. This can take the form of listening to concerns with empathy and patience to showcasing a product’s results over its features. While Cole separated this golden rule into many smaller commandments, if you are constantly striving to serve the customer, other things, such as working hard and seeking understanding, come more easily.
5. Thou Shalt Never Quit
Last but not least, do not give up. You know when a sale is 100% not going to happen, and you know when to have hope. Don’t get pushy, but don’t get pushed to the side either. Cole recommended you not be satisfied and Cardone advised you to stay with the buyer. Yet you can take this one piece of wisdom from Tom Hopkins, a sales expert, that I got from Inc. magazine:
“The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying.”